Read&Write for Windows

Read&Write Description

Read&Write is software that can help with reading, writing, and studying. It is installed on all Sites Windows computers.

Installing Read&Write on a Personal Computer

Any current U-M student, faculty, or staff member may obtain the current version of Read&Write for their personal Windows computer by doing the following:

  • Go to the Read&Write website, scroll down to the "Try Read&Write" button, and click on it. A drop-down menu will appear.
  • Choose "Windows US EN." The installation file will begin downloading.
  • Run the downloaded read&write.exe file. If you are prompted to install additional files, choose "Install."
  • If prompted, reboot the computer. After the reboot, the program will continue to install.
  • On the "Hi, almost ready to install" screen, choose "Accept and install." After a few minutes, the installation will be complete.
  • The first time you run the program:
    • If you had a previous version of Read&Write installed, you may be prompted to import any settings from the prior version.
    • You will be prompted with several signin options. Choose "Sign In with Google" and then go through the usual sign in process for your University account.


Toolbar Overview

Read&Write works directly with applications and formats such as Microsoft Word, web browsers, and PDF files (note that some features may not work with all formats). When you start it, a toolbar appears with the following buttons:

CheckIt button
Check It. Runs a spell checker on selected text. Has some ability to flag homonyms (two or more words with the same or similar sounds but different meanings, such as "bear" and "bare" or "accept" and "except").
Word Prediction button
Word Prediction. Similar to the prediction features on standard cell phones. 
Dictionary button
Dictionary. Provides definitions of a selected word. Options under "Show More Settings" (see below) include choosing the source for the definition.
Picture Dictionary button
Picture dictionary. Provides images associated with a selected word.
Rewind button
Rewind. Moves back one reading unit (e.g., sentence) from the currently selected or focused text and reads it.
Play button
Play. Highlight a few words near the beginning of the text you want to have read, then click on the Play icon. If the reading is slow, go to the Speech settings (see below) and change to a voice that does not have Google or Microsoft as a prefix.
Pause button
Pause. Pause current reading. When Pause is clicked a second time, the audio continues from the stopping point.
Forward button
Forward. Moves ahead one reading unit from the currently selected or focused text and reads it.
Stop button
Stop. Stops the current reading. If the user then presses Play, reading recommences from the beginning of the current reading unit.
Screenshot Reader button
Screenshot Reader. Allows user to capture text in any format and read it using Text Reader or send the screenshot to Word. Useful for reading bitmapped (non-selectable) text or other text that cannot be accessed with the Play or PDFReader functions. If you need to convert the text to an editable format, see the Scan instructions below.

To use Screenshot Reader:

  1. Click on the Screenshot Reader icon, and draw a box around the text you would like to read. Screenshot Reader will take a few seconds to analyze this text and will then start reading it aloud.
  2. You can use the standard Play, Pause, and Stop buttons to control this reading.
Scan button
Scan. Supports hardware scanners (attached to several computers throughout campus) to convert print text into a readable electronic format. It can also be used to convert PDFs into an editable Word format, using the following steps:
  1. Choose the Scan icon. A dialog box will come up.
  2. Choose the Folder image (the lower image). The following dialog box will appear:
  3. Under “Make me a,” choose “Word Doc” (when chosen, the box will change to green with white text).
  4. Under “Select your file,” drag and drop a PDF to the box with a dotted outline, or choose “Select File(s)” to bring up a system dialog. Then choose “Scan” to bring up the following dialog box:
  5. Under “Select your file,” indicate the pages that you want to have scanned. Then choose the “Scan” button. The scanned file will automatically open in Word.

You also have the option to save the file in Web (HTML) or ePub formats. For more information, please see the Read&Write for Windows - Scan video.

Audio Maker button    Audio Maker. Allows you to paste in text and convert it to an MP3 file. (A freeware program called Balabolka provides similar functionality and can usually handle larger amounts of text than Audio Maker.)
Screen Masking button
Screen Masking. Tints all or part of the screen. The “Show More Settings” dialog (see below) allows you to set color preferences as well as specify how the tinting should appear.
Talk&Type button
Talk&Type. Provides access to the speech input utility built into the Windows operating system.
Translation button
Translation. Translates a highlighted word or paragraph from and to a wide variety of languages.
PDF Reader button
PDF Reader. Provides access to a program designed to read PDF files that are already formatted as text. 

To use PDF Reader:

  1. Click on the PDF Reader icon, then select the file you would like to read. The PDF Reader window will open.
  2. A hand  (Hand Off button) will appear at the top left of the page. Select some text and then click on the hand. A purple strip will appear underneath it (Hand On button) and the program will start to read the text.
  3. Use the Play, Pause, and Stop buttons on the standard toolbar to control the reading. 
  4. If you wish to deactivate the reading feature (e.g., so it doesn't clash with the Highlighter), click on the hand so that the purple strip disappears.

If PDF Reader doesn't work, use the Screenshot Reader function (see above).

Highlighters buttons
Highlighters (four buttons). Allows selected text to be highlighted in yellow, blue, green, or pink.
Erase Highlights button   Clear highlights. Removes highlighting from selected text.
Collect Highlights button     Collect highlights. Collects and sorts highlighted text, and sends it to a new file. An option in the “Show More Settings” dialog (see below) allows a bibliographic entry for the source document to be automatically added to the file.
Vocabulary List button   Vocabulary. Allows users to add highlighted words to a vocabulary list.
Voice Note button    Voice Note. Record an audio file and insert it into a Microsoft Word document or save it as a .WAV file. (Note: this is audio-only; it will not convert speech to text.)

Information and Settings Functions

On the right side of the toolbar are the following buttons:

Information button Information. Choosing this button will bring up the following menu:

Information menu

  • Help. Takes you to the “Help” page on the Read&Write website.
  • Video Tours. Takes you to a “Video Tours” page that links to several YouTube videos on Read&Write features.
  • About Read&Write. Provides information on the product version and other administrative links.

Read and Write sign out button    Sign Out. Lets you sign out of Read&Write. 

Read and Write Hide button  Hide/Show toolbar. Lets you minimize the toolbar. The minimized toolbar looks like Read and Write show toolbar button ; clicking on it restores the toolbar to full size.

Settings button Settings. Choosing this button brings up the following list of settings:

Settings 1 list

  • Speak as I Type. Echos each letter, word, or sentence as it is typed. (More detailed settings can be specified under Show More Settings: Speech)
  • Screen Reading. Reads some underlying text. The implementation is not yet reliable and does not substitute for a screen reader that would be usable to blind individuals.
  • Continuous Reading. If this setting is turned off, Read&Write will only read selected text. If it is turned on, it will read any selected text and then continue through the rest of the document until paused or stopped.
  • Read the Web. Facilitates text-to-speech access for web pages. You may be prompted to install a browser app.
  • Pop-Up Dictionary. Allows you to click on a word and get a brief definition (you may need to click multiple times). If you click on the “More” link, you will go to a more detailed definition online.

Show More Settings. Brings up the following dialog, which allows detailed preferences to be set for many Read&Write functions:

Settings dialog

The function categories are:

  • General (includes a list of keyboard shortcuts and the ability to remove any button from the toolbar)
  • Check It
  • Dictionary
  • Highlights
  • Prediction
  • Scanning
  • Screen Masking
  • Screenshot Reader
  • Speech -- Note that choosing any voice that has Google or Microsoft as a prefix will currently cause R&W to malfunction. This note will be updated when the issue is fixed.
  • Translator
  • Vocabulary List
  • Voice Note